Sustainable Peace Foundation

Melodies of resilience: Mosul revives music training for youth

NABI JIRJIS, OLD MOSUL, 6 January — At the Sustainable Peace Foundation’s project in Mosul, young musicians are engaged in rigorous music training sessions that will continue throughout 2024. Supervisors, during a rehearsal of the traditional song “Ya ‘Aduley La Talmene Fa Al-Hawa Qattal” (O Blame, Do Not Blame Me, for Love is Deadly), remarked on the rapid progress of participants in mastering traditional instruments like the saz, oud, violin, and flute.

The group comprises 20 young talents from arts institutes and universities, selected after interviews. The aim is to form a musical band to perform heritage songs, with training slated for the entire year.

Dr. Muhand Al-Hayali, director of the Sustainable Peace Foundation, for network 964:
“We started training 20 young men and women in four musical instruments – oud, violin, flute, and saz. We will form a music band to present traditional art.”

“Our focus is also on Mosul’s heritage and tourism through training tour guides and developing a website to acquaint tourists with sites in Umm Al-Rabi’ain.”

Omar Ismail, musician and band coach:
“I have an artistic mission for my city and selected young talents from various scientific fields, including medicine, engineering, and pharmacy, as well as arts students and graduates. I’m proud of them for mastering pieces in just five lectures. My goal is to establish a band that can present traditional Iraqi art without needing outside groups to perform in Mosul.”

“I taught students the basics of the oud and violin. Each student has a different learning style, so I use simple methods. I want all team members to reach my level of performance.”

“We will be a strong presence in the upcoming Spring Festival, playing Iraqi and Arab heritage songs.”

Orhan Al-Bayati, saz coach in the band:
“The students were selected through special playing tests and their knowledge of music. They learned quickly due to their passion, and I see them as emerging artists for Mosul.”

Zeinab Mohammed, violinist:
“Joining the training is a golden opportunity. I’ve loved the violin since childhood. The unique exercises taught us various musical modes and styles. Mosul is a city embracing art.”

Aya Mahmoud, violinist:
“As a fourth-year student in the Music Department at the Arts Institute, I hadn’t learned to play the violin well. But since joining the band, I’ve been able to play several songs, including ‘Tale’et Min Beit Abouha’ and the national anthem. The atmosphere here is beautiful with my second family.”

Ali Noor Al-Deen, saz player:
“I started from scratch, learning within a group where we encourage each other. The coach made me love the instrument more. The atmosphere with the band is ideal, and music is my passion, something we previously lacked in Mosul.”